IT is deeply regrettable that Sir Keir Starmer has apparently reneged on his agreement, made in 2020, that a Holyrood majority be justification for a second independence referendum, but this is increasingly his modus operandi—give his word then breach it (“Keir Starmer pledges ‘change within the UK’ for Scotland”, December 2).
Starmer claims he will usher in “change” in Scotland. Will it require a mandate, and what will that mandate consist of? Starmer claims “Labour is doing well in Scotland”: does this necessitate that Labour has to win a majority of Scottish voters or seats, or will he just steamroller Scottish devolved autonomy (the commitment to entrenchment made in 2014)?
Why are different UK nations treated differently on constitutional matters by Labour and Tory parties? Scotland has had dozens of useless Labour nodding donkeys for decades and the last thing Scotland needs is more dismal Jimmies.
Will Labour take control of Scottish assets and move them south? Labour and Tory economic, defence and trade policies look remarkably similar.
Scotland needs to join the world, not stay part of this Anglo-British nationalist and separatist universe with its Ruritanian pretence of exceptionalism and flag-waving “greatness”.
GR Weir, Ochiltree
Folly of charging the wealthy for NHS
I READ with concern your article in the Herald which reported on a suggestion that some wealthier people should pay a fee for a GP appointment (“Medics call for wealthy to be charged fixed GP fees”, December 2).
The stated aim was to reduce the GP practice workload. The unintended consequence of this would be to divert work to the already struggling Emergency Departments (A&E). This is exactly what happened in Italy when this was tried a good number of years ago.
If this went ahead, the income would have to go to the hospitals, not the general practices, to pay for this consequence. An alternative option would be to also charge a higher fee for A&E attendance. This would be entirely justifiable because the cost of providing primary (GP) care in a hospital is much higher than in a GP practice.
The NHS is undoubtedly under-resourced but it would be better to provide financial support with higher taxation. It is not “free”: we pay for it in taxation.
Taxation takes account of wealth. That would be much more efficient and fairer than private health insurance for some or all. Why give some of the income to shareholders and insurance employees instead of all to the NHS? Why spend even more on healthcare administration?
There is clearly a capacity problem in General Practice and other parts of the NHS. Charging isn’t going to increase the capacity to see patients. It will not result in anyone seeing more patients. If they can, why aren’t they doing so already? It will not create more GPs and easier primary care access, which is what we need.
Dr Malcolm Gordon, Bearsden
Clearly, a win-win situation
THERE have been suggestions from the medical profession that wealthy patients pay for GP appointments. The politicians would love this, providing that enough people agreed with the idea.
This is the reason why they would be happy: a high charge at first would ensure that only the wealthy paid. This, of course, would give them priority over the rest of us, a real bonus for the Conservatives who look after their rich friends.
The real clincher for the politicians is that all they would just have to do is keep the charge the same (as with the winter fuel allowance) while allowing inflation to whittle away the value of this payment until everyone had to pay. A win-win situation.
James Evans, Dumbarton
Robbing Angus to Pay Humza
HUMZA Yousaf, the most woeful Health Secretary Scotland has had to endure (and that’s quite something after the last two – remember Jeane Freeman and Shona Robison?), has said he’s sorry that patients are having to wait for treatment or for ambulances.
Elton John claimed that sorry was the hardest word but it doesn’t look that way if you’re an SNP minister. Say you’re sorry but don’t actually change anything. Mr Yousaf claims that he will leave no stone unturned to ensure that the health and social care systems get the investment they require.
There’s a very simple solution. Go across the hall and tell Angus Robertson that his Constitution, External Affairs and Culture department should hand over a huge chunk of its budget.
The top area listed on the Scottish Government website for Mr Robertson’s department is independence. With the Supreme Court having ruled that the Scottish Parliament does not have the power to legislate for a referendum on Scottish independence, there is no need for such a large budget to sit with this department.
If the Health Secretary really is sorry and wants to do whatever he can to save people’s lives, he can do so. The question is, how much does the SNP want to actually make our lives better – or does independence trump everything else?
Jane Lax, Aberlour
INITIALLY, the notion that I would not be ‘hated and detested’ by not being a Tory seemed to make it possible to sleep better at night.
However, the subsequent definition of democracy denies the fundamental principle of democracy, that an elected government would take on the duty to govern on behalf of all the people.
The uncompromising stance of territorial nationalism simply fails to recognise that the world in which Scotland and the UK now operate has been utterly transformed by the fact that up to half-a-million people from all over the world are arriving annually on these island shores.
This clearly suggests that their political choices will be denied if they seek to come to Scotland and they will be subjected to restraints that can only be seen as primitive and deeply undemocratic.
Dr J W M Chapman, Stewartry of Kirkcudbright
Separation will harm Scotland
YOU may well have published serious misinformation in a letter claiming that a majority of the Scottish people voted for separation from the UK (“Denying Scotland its voice”, December 3).
Clearly, little more than one fifth of the Scottish people voted for separation. More to the point, when we look at the voting population, my calculation is that more votes were cast for the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democratic parties than for the SNP and Greens combined.
Even more to the point, there are two reasons why the numbers are irrelevant to the constitutional debate, as opposed to the outcome of that debate.
Firstly, the numbers say nothing about the issues of economy, politics, military and nuclear defence, trade, borders, currency or population movement and so on. These are the issues that have to be resolved so that the best outcome is achieved.
Secondly, there was a majority vote for Brexit which has done great harm to the UK, not so much to Europe. It seems very clear that separation from the UK may do great harm to Scotland – not so much, perhaps, to the UK.
First of all, however, we must be clear that a majority of Scottish voters at the last election voted against separation from the UK.
Michael Sheridan, Glasgow
While we're on the subject, FM...
THE First Minister observed that Ian Blackford had held the post of SNP leader in the Commons for five years, implying that that was quite long enough and it was therefore quite reasonable for him to stand down.
Ms Sturgeon has of course held the post of First Minister for eight years.
Jane Ann Liston, St Andrews
Not such a good idea after all
AFTER the Paris accord in November 2016 the EU jumped on the electric vehicle craze before the rest of the world.
What was worse was that immediately the purchase of new petrol and diesel vehicles was banned from a future date. In the case of the UK it was 2030, 10 years earlier than originally planned.
Now the chickens are coming home to roost. Switzerland is considering legislation that would ban people from driving electric vehicles except in urgent conditions over the winter because there simply might not be enough electricity in the grid to recharge them.
I suppose owners could always buy a petrol or diesel generator to charge their EV and not tell the green brigade that they are not so green after all. The UK next when the wind doesn’t blow?
Clark Cross, Linlithgow
Letters should not exceed 500 words. We reserve the right to edit submissions.